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House adds more restrictions to Marijuana Control Board bill

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published April 15, 2015

The Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday tweaked a bill that would create a state Marijuana Control Board, adding an amendment that would prohibit anyone with a felony conviction in the last five years from getting a license for a commercial marijuana grow, testing facility, manufacturing facility or retail store.

On Tuesday, the House passed the bill 25-15, but majority leader Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, held the bill for reconsideration.

Millett said before the floor session Wednesday that some Republican members had wanted to revisit an amendment shot down the day before. The failed amendment had prohibited people with recent felony convictions and misdemeanor drug convictions from owning marijuana establishments.

Millett said Wednesday the House had reached a "compromise" on the amendment, removing prohibitions on businesses owned by people with recent misdemeanor controlled-substance convictions.

A second amendment offered Wednesday was adopted. It prohibits anyone with a felony conviction within the last five years, or someone on probation or parole for a felony, from getting a license for a marijuana establishment.

A "marijuana establishment" is defined as a "cultivation facility, a marijuana testing facility, a marijuana product manufacturing facility, or a retail marijuana store" under the initiative language.

The House then voted on the bill again Wednesday, this time passing it 36-4.

House Bill 123 would create a Marijuana Control Board tasked with crafting regulations and enforcing those laws.

The bill includes a fiscal note to the tune of $1.57 million. The funding would allow for the expansion of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's staff and resources, as the Marijuana Control Board would share the ABC Board's staff and director.

When Alaska's marijuana initiative went into effect on Feb. 24, it gave the Legislature the power to create a Marijuana Control Board. If no board is created, it's up to the ABC Board to create the regulations.

Either way, the board would still need additional funding to regulate a new substance, ABC Board Director Cynthia Franklin has said.

The bill now heads to the state Senate in the final days of the legislative session.